I was lying on my bed reading a book when my phone buzzed.
It was a text from Viola, a girl I knew from school.
Velvet and I having a birthday party in our pj’s! Moving out today, whoo!
I laughed at the pictures. Knowing Viola, she’d probably sent this to everyone in her contacts list. I wandered aimlessly outside onto my private verandah, thinking.
I hadn’t really known what to do with myself since I’d graduated school. Maybe I should consider moving out, like Viola and Velvet, but it just seemed like I was stuck.
Maybe I should back up a bit. I’d always had quite a hard time at school, not with the academic side of things, but the social side. I don’t know why, but this one guy, Matty Hardwood, and his group of buddies always found a reason to pick on me. They’d beat me up just for the hell of it, and insult me whenever I happened to pass them on the way to class. My only friends at school were my brother and sister, Shaun and Elise. My relationship with Elise had deteriorated a little though, since she’d started dating Matty’s brother, Alec. She assured me he was nothing like Matty, but I wasn’t so sure. He’d definitely joined in on the teasing sometimes.
A few other people had been nice to me over the years, though: Viola Sharpe, Sean Flynn, and Emerson Swift.
Viola and Sean were pretty easy to figure out. They were best friends, about the middle of the social ladder, and didn’t mind hanging out with a loser like me every now and then. It was Emerson’s kindness to me that I couldn’t understand. He and his identical twin brother Tristan were popular and well liked, they never rubbed anyone up the wrong way and socialised easily. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why Emerson would risk his reputation to hang out with me.
One day, Matty had me up against the wall in the courtyard.
‘What are you gonna do, you little faggot?’ he sneered. ‘No brother around to save you this time.’
It was true. Shaun had taken to working out in the school gym at lunchtimes lately. Unfortunately, his fitness kick was about to cost me another bashing. Matty kicked me in the shin with his sneaker clad foot and laughed as I yelled in pain.
‘Oi! Hardwood!’ came a voice to my right. I looked up and saw it was Emerson. What the hell was he doing?
‘Swifty.’ he replied. ‘What’s, er, up?’
Emerson narrowed his eyes. ‘This has gone on for too long, Hardwood, and you know it.’
Matty laughed uneasily. ‘I’m just having a bit of fun, mate, you know how it is.’
‘Firstly,’ said Emerson, striding towards us. ‘I have never been your ‘mate’. Secondly, I think you getting a kick out of putting Tony through hell is more than pathetic, to be honest.’
Matty’s stance changed. He turned towards Emerson, an ugly look on his face. ‘And what are you doing suddenly sticking up for him, huh? You a fag as well, then?’
Emerson didn’t miss a beat. ‘So what if I am, huh? It’s two thousand fucking eleven, Hardwood. Nobody gives a shit!’
Matty looked uncertian. He’d completely lost control of the situation, and other students were starting to crowd around now. It was one thing having a go at a nobody like me, but landing a punch on Emerson, one of the most popular boys in school, would not be a smart idea. There was nothing for him to do but walk away, clenching his fists as he went.
Emerson cornered me after the last class of the day. ‘Can we talk?’
‘Sure,’ I said, slinging my bag onto my shoulder.
‘I’m sorry I ran off earlier,’ he said as we walked, heading towards the back entrance of the school. ‘I had a test, and-’
‘It’s okay,’ I interjected. ‘The bell rang, it’s fine.’
We sat down on the bench at the back of the school. It was deserted, everyone was out the front catching buses and unlocking cars.
‘I’m really annoyed at myself,’ said Emerson, twisting his hands in his lap. ‘If it was that easy to stop him, I should have done it ages ago.’
‘It’s okay,’ I said again. ‘He could have easily beat you up as well.’
Emerson shook his head in frustration. ‘I’d just - had enough, you know?’
‘Yeah.’ I said listlessly. Boy, did I know. And even now, I didn’t believe he’d stop. If none of my friends were around, he’d try again, for sure. By this point, all the bullying had worn me so low that even this small victory didn’t give me much hope.
‘Look, um, I’m just gonna say this, and you might never speak to me again, but I have to give it a shot.’ Emerson was speaking again, very fast, looking down and twisting his hands.
I frowned. ‘Well, shoot.’
Emerson took a deep breath and continued. ‘I don’t know if you’re actually gay, or Matty just says that to piss you off, but I’ve, um, had a crush on you for, uh, a while now.’
I was utterley shocked. This was the last thing I’d expected. ‘What?’
‘Okay, I get it, I’m going,’ said Emerson, shooting up from the bench.
‘No, wait!’ I said, standing up too. ‘I just don’t understand why you like me.’ I was starting to think this whole thing was an elaborate joke, because it seemed too good to be true.
Emerson just stared at me. ‘Because you’re gorgeous.’
I make a face. ‘Just stop, Swifty. Seriously. I know this is a joke.’
Emerson looked more than irritated now. ‘Fuck, Tony, you just don’t get it do you? I am not that person, I would never do that!’ He sad down on the bench and put his head in his hands. I just stared at him. My head was a mess.
‘So what now?’ said Emerson listlessly.
‘What do you mean?’
Emerson lifted his head. He looked exasperated. ‘Do you like me?’
‘I don’t know! You just dumped this on me, I’m having a hard time getting my head around it.’
‘So are you gay?’
‘I don’t know! I think so, but no one’s ever asked me out before, have they?’
‘Come here.’ said Emerson. I sat back down on the bench, jiggling my foot nervously. And then he kissed me. I don’t think it was a proper first kiss, more like a first make out. It definitely lasted a long time. My lips just seemed to know what to do, and it came as easily as breathing.
‘Yeah?’ asked Emerson breathlessly as we finally broke apart, his hands cupping my face.
‘Yeah.’ I replied. Then I kissed him again.
Our relationship quickly became very serious. We were both a bit ‘all or nothing’ - we seemed to skip the casual/awkward dating stage. As I got to know Emerson, I realised he was more like me that I thought. He was actually very insecure about himself, and was constantly working out or staring at himself in the mirror. I realised how hard it must have been for him to admit he liked me.
One Sunday afternoon, I took Emerson down to one of Sunset Valley’s secluded beaches for a picnic. Loving him had given me the confidence to do things I never would have considered before - like propose to him. I did just that, as the sun set over the water behind us. He was surprised, but very, very happy. We both knew this relationship was the real deal. As cheesy as it sounds, I’d discovered that soulmates do exist - and Emerson Swift was mine.
The catch was - and there’s always a catch, isn’t there? The catch was that Emerson was a year younger than me. So now I had to wait for him to finish his senior year at school before we could start our lives together. And that was why I felt adrift.
My phone buzzed again, cutting through my thoughts. Another text from Viola.
OMG, the new house is huge! WTF was my dad thinking!? Do u want to move in??
I stared at the text message. Was she serious? I called her.
‘Tony!’ she said. ‘Oh my God, we just arrived at the new house, and it’s like, ten times the size of our old one!’
I laughed. ‘You do realise that rock stars are generally rich?’
‘Yes! I know that, but we don’t need all this space. There’s four bedrooms for a start. So we had this great idea of getting housemates.’
I stared out at the expansive view as I considered this. Our family home was large and comfortable, and probably had one of the best views in town. I’d lived here since my family had moved to Sunset Valley when I was a teenager. It would be hard to leave behind - but already I could see myself doing it. And maybe, it was just the thing I needed at the moment.
‘When can I move in?’
So, erm, this is my absolute favourite genre to write, gay romance. I couldn't resist doing a little background story. Everything is based on facts, e.g. Matty and Emerson are enemies, Tony has the loser trait, Viola and Sean are Tony's only acquaintances apart from family and Emerson, etc. I used my copied town to take the pics of Tony at his parent's house.
Next chapter is still Tony but that's because we have a WEDDING! He tells you what Viola and Velvet are up to, don't worry.
Sorry if you liked Tony's old hair, but I thought this one looked even better.
IMPORTANT! Any feedback, positive or negative, on the writing quality in this would be greatly appreciated, as this chapter is the same genre/theme as my novel. This is first draft quality, as are all my blog posts.
Until next time,